Dr. Heather Leslie – VU

Dr. Leslie is a leading expert in international (nano-micro)plastics research. Her 17-year career centers around plastic materials and associated chemicals partitioning to and from the polymeric matrix, to humans, and the environment. She makes interdisciplinary connections with medical and social sciences and humanities to approach the pollution problem from different angles. She coordinated the first FP7 research on MNP and marine litter, CleanSea, an agenda-setting interdisciplinary project. She now leads the VUA’s MNP group in development of analytical methods specifically for human exposure studies, e.g. blood, air, food.

She is currently co-coordinating a unique international interlab study on MNP, leading or participating in LimnoPlast ITN, 3 ZonMw projects including Immunoplast, MicroLEACH, NordMar, PETHUNT, 2 projects with Plastic Health Coalition partners. She has over a decade of experience working on MNP with UN, EU, Dutch government, research councils and private sector, and makes regular public (media) appearances. She co-chaired UN GESAMP WG40 producing global assessment report on microplastic pollution (2012-2015), was T20 Marine Litter/Circular Economy Think Tank member for the G7 (2017), EU Technical Subgroup MNP (2013-2015), SAPEA MNP Workshop group(2019).

Her reporting often bridges science and policy. Winning the ZonMw BAD Award (2020) Dr. Leslie collaborates with artist and immunologist in art-science project dedicated to exploring multi-perspectives of MNP interactions with the human body.

Contact information


Address for correspondence:
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam,
Faculty of Science,
Department of Environment & Health,

De Boelelaan 1085,
1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands